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Understanding the March 2024 Google Core Update: A User-Centric Shift

The ever-evolving world of search engine optimization (SEO) demands constant adaptation. The March 2024 core update is a major one, prioritizing high-quality, informative, and original content. Google expects this and prior updates to reduce low-quality content by 40%, driving traffic to valuable websites. As such, websites with thin or recycled content are likely to see a decline in search traffic.

A Two-Pronged Approach

Google’s most recent major update, the “March 2024 core update,” went live on March 5, 2024, with two key aspects.

  • Core Update (Estimated Impact: 70% of Searches): Rewards overall content quality and user experience.
  • Spam Update (Estimated Impact: 30% of Searches): Targets misleading content, clickbait tactics, and misuse of expired domains.

The March 2024 Core Update being announced by Google

 

Core Update: Prioritizing User Experience and Content Quality

Reducing Unhelpful Content: Google is taking a firm stance against unhelpful content that provides little to no value to users. This includes content that is:

  • Poorly written
  • Irrelevant to search queries
  • Simply stuffed with keywords

Additionally, Google’s March 2024 Core Update specifically targets three ways websites can abuse search rankings:

  • Site Reputation Abuse: This occurs when trusted sites publish third-party content without any oversight, solely to take advantage of the first-party site’s ranking and reputation. Not all third-party content is bad, but it should be valuable and not manipulate search results.
  • Expired Domain Abuse: This involves purchasing an expired domain name and using it to host low-quality content. This tricks users into believing the new content is associated with the old, trusted site.
  • Scaled Content Abuse: This happens when a website creates a large number of pages with the primary goal of increasing search ranking, not helping users. This applies to both human-generated and AI-generated content that is unhelpful.

By focusing on these areas, Google aims to prioritize user experience (UX) and reward websites with original, valuable content.

Examples of Unhelpful Content That Could Be Impacted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Thin Content: Content that is short and lacks substance will likely see a decline in rankings. This includes content that is automatically generated or simply scraped from other sources.
  • Keyword-Stuffed Content:  Content that is overloaded with keywords in an unnatural way will be penalized by Google. The focus should be on creating content that is informative and reads naturally.
  • Doorway Pages: These are low-quality pages designed to rank for specific keywords and redirect users to another website. Google is cracking down on doorway pages with this update.
  • Affiliate Content Without Added Value:  Affiliate content that simply promotes products without providing any valuable insights or reviews will likely be impacted. Content that lacks unique value or simply regurgitates product descriptions sees a 70% drop in conversions compared to informative affiliate content.

 

Is AI Content Affected?

While Google doesn’t explicitly target AI-generated content, the update focuses on “scaled content abuse,” which often refers to AI-written content. If you’ve been relying on low-quality, AI-generated content, it’s time to switch gears.

How to Adapt Your Content Strategy for March 2024 Update

  • Focus on User Intent: Conduct thorough keyword research to understand what your target audience is searching for and tailor your content to their needs.
  • Create High-Quality Content: Invest in creating well-written, informative, and engaging content that provides value to your readers.
  • Originality is Key: Strive to create unique and original content that stands out from the competition. Conduct your research, provide fresh perspectives, and offer valuable insights.
  • Prioritize User Experience: Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, loads quickly, and offers a positive user experience.
  • Optimize for Search Engines: While keyword stuffing is no longer a viable strategy, you should still optimize your content for relevant keywords. However, the focus should be on using keywords naturally throughout your content.
  • Content Promotion is Crucial: Don’t just create great content; promote it as well! Share your content on social media, submit it to relevant online directories, and collaborate with other websites.

Following these tips, you can create a content strategy that aligns with the March 2024 Google Core Update and improves your website’s search engine ranking.

Additional Considerations for the March 2024 Update

  • Focus on E-A-T:  E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Google wants to see content written by experts in their respective fields. Building trust and authority takes time and effort, but it’s an essential factor for ranking well in search results.
  • Mobile-Friendliness is a Must:  With over 63% of all online searches now happening on mobile devices, it’s crucial to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in search results.
  • Technical SEO Matters:  Don’t neglect technical SEO factors like website speed, page structure, and internal linking. A well-optimized website will rank higher in search results and provide a better user experience.
  • Keep Up to Date with Google Updates: The search engine landscape is constantly evolving. Stay up-to-date with the latest Google algorithm updates to ensure your website remains compliant and competitive. 

    42Works: Your Partner in SEO Success

    The March 2024 Google Core Update represents a significant shift towards user-centric content. At 42Works, we have a team of experienced SEO specialists who can help you adapt your content strategy to the latest Google updates. We can help you with

    • Keyword research and competitor analysis
    • Content creation and optimization
    • On-page and technical SEO optimization
    • Link-building and outreach campaigns

Contact 42Works today for a consultation and learn how we can help you achieve your SEO goals

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